Philadelphians across the city can now get tested for COVID-19 in dozens of sites throughout Philadelphia. Many of these sites are Health Federation member FQHCs. With widespread testing now available, officials aren’t expecting any issues with capacity and patients showing symptoms and who fit the criteria can and should get tested and remain in isolation until they receive their results.
HFP CEO Natalie Levkovich worked with Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley to determine how local health centers could play a role in expanded access to testing. After some discussion and advocacy, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health drafted a Memorandum of Agreement to define expectations of health centers and commitment of PDPH to supplement and resupply test kits and PPE to health centers. Ms. Levkovich then disseminated the request, collected feedback, answered questions, followed up on MOAs, and ultimately connected the health centers with the resupply contact at PDPH.
Local health centers are using various approaches to testing including setting up outdoor as well as indoor options, partnering with other community organizations, and applying more or less liberal testing criteria based on their own assessment of capacity, safety and necessary supplies. Most health centers are offering testing not only to their established patients but to eligible community members who are required to make an appointment and go through an abbreviated intake (i.e., technically become registered patients).
Data are reported to PDPH. All patients are given their results and patients who test positive are given follow up care and information about self quarantine and symptom monitoring.